Item description for The Red Letters: The Sayings and Teachings of Jesus by Timothy J Beals...
Overview A groundbreaking book that allows Jesus to speak for himself, presenting his own topically arranged words from the Gospelsâ"but without any human commentaryâ"so that people may hear the foundational message of Christianity from him personally.
While the entire Gospel narrative is essential to Christian theology, Jesus' own words distinctively teach us how to live and how faith makes a difference in one's life. The Red Letters gives a clear overview of Christianity's foundational message in a unique way: allowing Jesus to speak for himself, without any human commentary.
This incisive book simply includes all of Jesus' words from the Gospels, arranged by topic and rendered in the ESV translation. For everyone who would like to rediscover the heart of Christianity-or perhaps discover it for the first time-as Jesus Christ himself communicated it.
Citations And Professional Reviews The Red Letters: The Sayings and Teachings of Jesus by Timothy J Beals has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
CBA Retailers - 01/01/2009 page 32
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Studio: Crossway Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 6.8" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.8" Weight: 0.55 lbs.
Release Date Jan 13, 2009
Publisher Crossway Books/Good News
ISBN 1433501406 ISBN13 9781433501401
Availability 0 units.
More About Timothy J Beals
Timothy J. Beals serves as the president and chief solution officer of Credo Communications, LLC. Author of numerous articles, magazine features, and devotional pieces, Beals, holds degrees from both Cornerstone University and Western Michigan University and has held leadership positions at both Zondervan and World Vision. Beals resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Reviews - What do customers think about Red Letters?
Exactly what I was looking for ... I thought Feb 4, 2010
[NOTE: I edited my review and changed the rating after getting further into the book and realizing it wasn't organized the way I expected.]
As are many people, I am familiar with the stories in the four gospels. However, at times I want to focus on Jesus sayings and teachings -- just His words. The first part of the book arranges Jesus' sayings in chronological order while taking the quote from the gospel that provides the most complete version. Each quote is accompanied by a short phrase indicating the context. The chapter & verse are also shown and the translation used is easily readable.
This should be good for a complete review of Jesus' word from birth to resurrection. However, as I read through the book, I began noticing missing verses. John 5:19-47 was not where I expected to find be (immediately after John 5:17).
I wrote the editor. He replied that one of the verses I believed to be missing (Luke 4:24 - "Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.") did appear to be an oversight. He said he would notify the publisher. (I also can't locate Matthew 12:13.) The editor also said that the verses from John I thought were missing are in the second part of the book -- "The Teachings".
I now realize that Christ's words are split between the two parts of the book. I thought that the first part would contain ALL the verses in chronological order and the second part would REPEAT the verses grouped by theme. This is not the case.
For example, there is no mention of the Sermon on the Mount in the first part of the book and no indication of where it would occur. It is found in the second part and is rearranged thematically. You must find each portion of the sermon and jump back and forth from page to page if you want to read it in the order it was given.
I'm confused by the way some verses are grouped in the "Teachings" part of the book. For example, the section titled "Kingdom and Creed: Essence" is where you find Matthew 6:25-33 which begins "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life...". Matthew 6:34 -- which begins "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow..." -- is found twelve pages later in a section titled "Instructions and Examples: Substance".
Also, Matthew 6:24 is located immediately BEFORE 6:19-21 in the section titled "Service and Stewardship: Call". I can understand grouping by theme, but I don't understand why connected verses would be rearranged. I couldn't find 6:22 or 6:23, but then realized that they were replaced by similar verses from Luke. It is difficult to tell that replacements like this were made.
I believe that most people who want to live a good life -- regardless of their faith -- would find it hard to disagree with what Jesus had to say. I hoped this book -- especially the second part -- would help me review and reinforce His teachings for myself and give me a concise & ready reference to quote His teaching on various topics to others. However, I am finding the splitting up and rearranging of passages a bit confusing.
Can be used for good study... Feb 17, 2009
The Red Letters, compiled by Tim Beals, for it is hard to say that he is the author as the author here is Christ as they are his words, is a book that, if used correctly, can be of great help. Tim Beals states at the end of his introduction that his "hope is that the red letters become the read letters."
What I really like about the book is that it sets up all the saying of Christ in chronological order in the first part and then by topic in the second part. He also makes sure that he only takes from one of the gospel accounts instead of all four when Christ's words are recorded by every author or multiple authors. Mr. Beals decided to do this to keep the book at a minimum and chose to take whichever account was most thorough in its recording of the words of Christ. I believe the book will be most helpful to take all four gospel accounts of Christ's words and put them in the order that Christ said them, as this can get quite confusing when trying to put them in order yourself. For this, it is quite helpful and will be used by myself when in need of this type of study.
The hard part of this study is that it is quite unreadable. The reason is that it is literally only the words of Christ. So, as one tries to read through it, they miss all the dialogue of the listeners or background information given by the gospel writer. So, while the book might be a great resource for a teacher or one studying the words of Christ, to simply read the book one will be quite frustrated.
The other part that sets this book up for question, but I don't believe is the author's intent is the movement of those who only rely on what Christ states, and dismiss the rest of the Bible as secondary because it isn't in "red letters." While I don't believe that Mr. Beals would accept this idea he does make the point to state that, "My (Mr. Beals) primary incentive is to provide a unique volume that will enable us to become better apprentices of the Master by allowing us to hear directly from him about what matters most." and "By looking at the 'red letters', Jesus' spoken words, we see what is important to him."
These two quotes seem to put forth that the rest of Bible isn't the spoken word of Christ. I have said before that just because it didn't come out of the mouth of Jesus while on earth doesn't mean Christ didn't say it or deem it as important. The danger with the thinking that the only importance that Christ deemed came from his mouth while on earth is that one will put these words above the rest of Scripture. This isn't okay. All Scripture is inspired by God, not just the red letters. While I do not know the convictions of Mr. Beals on this subject, I would suppose that he would not desire his book to be used by "red letter Christians" who put Paul's words, and the other writers of Scripture, as secondary to that of Christ's. This is my main concern with a book that simply puts forth Christ's words with absolutely no commentary on them.
So, the book will be very helpful for those who desire to get to the point of what Christ spoke while on this earth and in what order that happened and the topics he discussed. I just hope that this book isn't taken to mean that the rest of Scripture is secondary and used to show why certain topics or convictions are okay because they aren't "in red" in the Bible. So, I would recommend the book for study and useful help, but would not recommend the book to base one's sole theology on. Recommended.